Symbiotes are having a bit of a moment as Absolute Carnage takes over the Marvel landscape. Absolute Carnage: Scream ties Venom offspring Scream into the event and a familiar person is behind all those teeth. Donna Diego, the original Scream makes a quick reintroduction, but it will largely catch the reader off-guard if they were thinking she would be fully resurrected during this event.
*Spoilers for Absolute Carnage: Scream #1*
Diego is quickly revealed to be a lingering consciousness inside the symbiote and her bones act as a frame for the alien to use for its own ends. Patricia Robertson quickly enters the fray when she happens upon the evil entities about to feast on a family but is sucked in for her trouble. Robertson was previously She-Venom so she has ties to this larger meeting of former symbiote hosts.
The end of the issue sees her squaring up against Andi Benton, a former Mania host. There are so many callbacks to the Venom line and overall symbiote mythos in this issue. The Venom offshoots were wildly popular back in their heyday, but there are so many of them darting around here. The editors' notes do great justice for the audience in explaining the much-needed backstory.
Finally, after months of build-up, Marvel's Absolute Carnage event is off and running with titles like Scream. Writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman are taking this Venom-centric event up to 11 in the main book, Absolute Carnage. A resurrected Cletus Kasady is actively hunting for everyone who has ever made contact with a Symbiote, creating an army of mindless creatures to meet those ends.
These are wild books to be sure, one thing that has readers talking is the complete overhaul of Carnage's design. The villain is much less human-based now and takes on the symbol of Knull, the Symbiote god. If it was possible to make the character more menacing, they've succeeded. It's hard to ignore Carnage's new, completely exposed spine holding everything together.
Carnage has an absolutely gnarly new design, befitting the period the character was conceived. According to Cates, the change is all about conveying how dangerous this new version of the villain is and how that change spell trouble for Spider-Man and Venom.0comments
"We wanted this new, Dark, Carnage to look unique and insanely powerful for our big event, you know? So his new look has elements of the Knull design in it to reflect his new allegiance and power source," Cates told ComicBook.com. "He's taken on Knull's tall, lanky physique and he wears the Knull logo on his chest, and the spiral pattern on his forehead that Knull's minions seem to all wear to show their allegiance to the void god. Furthermore, this is really the first time you can look at Carnage and think, 'Wow, there is not a human being in that suit,' as his spine is hanging out and he looks....well, like a walking nightmare. It's really scary to see him stalking the streets as this huge slender man-monster."
Plenty of other changes to Carnage have appeared in these new books. The ability to infect anyone he comes across with a red Symbiote, which turns them into one of his hive-mind beasts is definitely new. The most noticeable change is definitely his design, making this iteration of Carnage stand out from the rest. There has never been a Carnage quite like this one, and the design certainly reflects that.